If you want to truly stand out from the smartwatch-wearing crowd then a customised watch face of your own is the way to go — and just about every Android Wear watch makes it possible, provided you have the right app installed.
Read this: Android Wear 2.0 essential guide
You don't need to be a design wizard or a coding genius either, and it's very possible to get something slick and personal on your watch in just a few minutes.
1. Choose your app
There are several different apps that let you design and install customised watch faces, and they all have broadly similar features: make a watch face of your own or pick one uploaded by another user from the general pool (some of them are actually very good).
They come at different price points too. We don't have space to feature them all so here we're going to focus on Facer as it's one of the slickest out there and is free to download. Android Wear Faces Creator and, the imaginatively named, WatchMaker Watch Face are good alternatives.
2. Install the customisation tool
Facer doesn't take much time to get up and running and works like most other customisation tools — you choose the app as the watch face (with a long press on the device or through the Android Wear app), then choose and sync the actual face from inside the app.
Read this: Android Wear tips and tricks
You need to register a Facer account if you want to be able to sync your designs. The app asks you what type of Android Wear watch you have, and you can then choose to browse through the faces already available — however, we want to get busy making our own.
3. Launch the designer
Facer has a Web-based designer app that runs in your browser and makes more sense than tapping away on your phone or tablet — you can find it at facer.io. Choose the shape and template you want to start with (digital or analogue) or pick a completely blank watch face.
There's limited support for the Apple Watch too. Meanwhile, down at the bottom you can see your existing designs, and from the same page there's access to some helpful how-to tutorials and the community pages (where you can turn for Facer tips and advice).
4. Get creative
Welcome to the Facer watch face editor! A clean and intuitive interface for designing your own faces: you can use the shape buttons to the right to switch between square and circular faces, and the timeline along the bottom to see how your design checks out through the day.
The panel on the left is where you'll be going to add new stuff to your design, while clicking on objects in the middle brings up extra options and lets you move and resize them. For a very simple watch face, just use Background Image to load a new picture into the designer.
5. Add extra elements
You can then use the Add Element button on the left to drop in new objects on top of your design, from digital clocks to weather widgets — as the new elements appear in your project, new options show up to modify the colours and transparency as you need to.
Information like the time and the battery level can be added fairly easily but there's also the opportunity to make your own custom text, image and shape widgets if you have the time and inclination: Facer has a full reference guide if you fancy getting more creative.
6. Finish off your design
Switch to the Dim tab and you can play around with the way the watch face looks when it's in standby mode — remember you want it to use up as little battery power as possible so you're best off making extensive use of black and dark shades when in this mode.
The Photoshop wizards among you can download a PSD template using the link on the left and use Adobe's digital imaging software to build a watch face instead. We're just covering the basics of Facer here but there's plenty more to explore if you want to go further.
7. Save (and share) your work
There are some basic options behind the Menu heading you might want to take advantage of, like a grid toggle button and a shareable link to your work. As soon as you click Save Draft from this menu, you should see the watch face appear inside the Facer app on your phone.
Smartwatch showdown: Apple Watch v Android Wear
If you want to keep your watch face private to yourself, that's all you have to do. If you'd rather share it with the world at large, click the Preview Mode button to see it in a variety of different watch casings, then tick the Terms of Service box and click Submit for Approval.
8. Sync the watch face
If you're signed into the same Facer account on the web and on your mobile device then you should see your brand new creation in the My Designs section of the app (you can find it on the menu). Tap the design then the sync icon on the right to send it to your smartwatch.
Remember Facer must be selected as your watch face for this to work. To double-check, go to the front page of the Android Wear app and choose Facer from the list of watch faces (or More if you can't see it) — then tap the cog icon to jump into the Facer app from there.
9. Customising Android Wear 2.0
With the arrival of Android Wear 2.0, watch faces can have complications: small widgets that display information like the steps you've taken today or the current date, pulled from data provided by third-party developers (whether that's Spotify or Strava).
The Facer watch designer doesn't include complications yet, but you can edit them on existing faces from Google Play. Press and hold on your current watch face to enter edit mode (if it doesn't appear, the watch face doesn't currently support complications).
Scroll down to see your options, which may include the face colour and background image, depending on the watch face developer. Meanwhile, tap on any of the complication slots to bring up a list of possible widgets, based on the apps you've got installed.
You can, for example, have one of the complications showing a quick link to a favourite contact, readouts from Google Fit, the next item on your Google Calendar, an unread notification counter, or a link to a specific app on your smartwatch.
The available editing options are determined by the developer of the watch face, but there's far more flexibility with Android Wear 2.0
Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon
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